I often (always) crave pad thai. But whenever I go out to a Thai restaurant, I can’t help falling victim to the temptation of the curries. No matter how resolute I am opening the menu, a nagging thought surfaces in my mind insisting I can make delicious pad thai at home, but for some reason can’t replicate green curry. While very much an irrational logic, I recently proved my absurdity true when I found this fantastic and simple nytimes recipe for peanut noodles. Though not exactly pad thai, this recipe feels close enough. And having enjoyed this dish four times in the past two months, I've found my pad thai craving fully satisfied.
The recipe really won me over by how incredibly quick and easy it was to make, not to mention the delicious results. A friend first introduced me to the peanut noodles when she brought the dish over for a potluck. Correction, she brought the raw ingredients to cook on site. My stomach was pretty traumatized thinking dinner was forever away. And just before I rationalized that it was ok to start eating the dessert (I mean I had made it), she was done!
This recipe also allows for a lot of wiggle room. I upped the peanut sauce portions since the original recipe left me craving just a bit more oomph. And I also used tofu instead of shrimp. But I might even prefer this dish with just vegetables. When I’m doing just veggies, I increase the amount of broccoli and carrots by about a half cup each. I could also see a grilled chicken as a delish substitution for the shrimp.
Make a giant vat of this at your next potluck and I promise all stomachs will go home happy.
Adapted from nytimes
Yields 4 servings.
2/3 cup peanut butter, chunky or smooth
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
about 12 ounces rice noodles (not vermicelli)—I actually used linguine the first time I made this recipe and loved the results. Great easy substitute if you don’t have rice noodles
2 tablespoons peanut oil. Can substitute vegetable or canola oil
1 package, about 14 oz tofu (Optional)
1 bunch scallions, sliced
3 grated carrots, about 1½ cups
1 large head of broccoli, chopped, about 1½ to 2 cups
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 minced fresh jalapeño
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (Optional)
1. Grate zest of one lime into a bowl. Juice zested lime and one more lime into bowl. Add peanut butter, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce. Mix until combined. Add ½ cup water and mix. Sauce should be a smooth liquid. If sauce appears too thick, add more water. With remaining one lime, cut into wedges and set aside for garnish.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook noodles as directed.
3. While waiting for water to boil, put oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. A minute later or when the oil starts to sizzle, add tofu. (If using only vegetables, proceed to step 4 after oil begins to sizzle.) Cook tofu for a minute or two on each side. Turning the tofu with a fork until all sides are golden brown. When tofu is cooked on all sides, remove from the pan. Place in bowl and set aside.
4. Add scallions, carrots, broccoli, garlic and chili to the pan. Continue to cook, stirring until vegetables soften a bit and the garlic begins to brown slightly. About 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
5. Place cooked noodles in a large bowl. Top with cooked vegetables followed by cooked tofu. Add peanut sauce and toss until mixture is evenly coated with sauce.
6. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.